Friday, July 18, 2014

A Carport Gets A New Home

I thought bartering was an old fashioned term that didn't happen much in this day and age.  I was wrong, it recently happened to us.  In a previous blog I wrote about our youngest daughter buying an old farmhouse in need of an update.  They didn't want to own two homes, so they are quickly getting the farmhouse ready to move in and at the same time getting the other house on the market.  They had a carport that they wanted to take down before listing.  It was agreed that we would take the carport in return for work on the farmhouse.  Truth be known, we would have done it for free. My husband fixed and replaced drywall, taped it and got it ready to paint. 

Before we could begin the dismantling, we had to prepare our space.  It doesn't really match the rustic setting we have, so one stipulation was that I couldn't see it from my kitchen window.  We chose a place for it.  First we had to bring in someone to clear the area and level the space.

Here is where more bartering comes in.  We needed some gravel brought in.  The person who did the Bobcat work saw that we had a nice long extension ladder.  We hadn't used it for a long time because it was very heavy.  So we traded him gravel for the ladder.

After the gravel is spread out,

 the supports and the base had to be leveled.

Now it is time to take down the carport.  It was easier said than done for me.  Every piece had to be unscrewed and marked so it could go back up in the same configuration.

First the roof panels had to come off.

Then the framework came down.

Many hours later, we loaded the pieces on to our truck and headed home.  After a couple days of rain delays, we were ready to put humpty dumpty back together again.

And so we begin


Framework is nearly complete.  Notice our resident supervisor.

Now the roof goes on.

Some of the pieces didn't fit well.

It was kind of a struggle to put this thing back together.  We had to hit all the same screw holes.  I laughed when I saw my husband using this strapping and a stick to align the holes.  As he twisted the strapping, it shortened and moved the braces into position.   He told me he learned how to do this from an Owen Wilson movie.  I guess some of the mindless movies he watches actually served a purpose.

We are almost done.

All finished except for a few finishing touches and a little extra gravel.
We do have some gravel leftover.  I wonder what we can barter for that.  This canopy or carport will be a nice cover for some of our things, but it isn't very pretty and I'm glad I can't see it from the kitchen window.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cherry Salsa

The summer of 2012 we visited Traverse City Michigan.  Our only niece lives there.  It is a beautiful area in Michigan.  There is a reason songs are written about it and famous people live there.  It is also famous for the cherries that are grown in the area.  If you are familiar with Door Country in Wisconsin, it is much the same.  It seems that latitude must produce the best cherries.  While visiting, I purchased some Cherry Salsa for my family at home.   I didn't get a chance to taste it.  This summer my sister brought me some salsa from Traverse City and a bag of cherry tortilla chips.  I gave my husband and my dad a little taste, and I ate the rest all by myself.  There is about two tablespoons left for when I need a special treat.

I thought maybe I could make my own cherry salsa.  I have made other salsas in the past.  I asked my sister if she had a recipe, and she sent me this one put out by one of the cherry growers.  This recipe calls for cherry jam.  At first I was going to make my own cherry jam because the cherries are in season.  Then I thought better of it.  I wasn't going to waste perfectly good jam on something I had never tried before.

These two 12 ounce jars cost less than $5.00 for both compared to the little jar which cost a least $8.00, maybe more.

Fresh Cherry Salsa


1 Jar Cherry Jam 8 oz.
2 Cups Diced Tomatoes or 1 - 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (drained)
1 Cup Diced Onions
1/4 Cup Diced Jalapeno Peppers (or to taste)
2 TBSP Tomato Paste
1 tsp Garlic
1 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Oregano

Put all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let boil for about 2 minutes and put in jars. Invert the jars lid side down for 5 min and then cool to room temperature. Makes 3 - 8 oz. jars of Cherry Salsa.

I put it in two 12 oz. jars.  The jars actually sealed.   I think it turned out great.  I didn't have fresh tomatoes so I used the canned variety.  Mine had garlic and onion in them, but I still added the recommended amount of garlic and onion.  Next time I will use fresh tomatoes or a can of plain diced tomatoes.  I may also cut back on the oregano and try 1/4 teaspoon.  Overall, I think it was a success.

 I'm going to the store right now.  Fresh cherries are $1.99 a pound.  I'm going to make some cherry jam. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Training For The Big Adventure Or Not

Yesterday was another busy day.  In the morning Mike and I worked on a big project that we have been working on for quite a while.  It takes us longer at our age.  I will write about that in a few days.

First a little background.  Our daughter Sarah and her friend are signed up to do an eight hour adventure in Michigan.  One part of the adventure is canoeing, and they have been training to improve their skills.  Neither of them are experienced at canoeing.  Our daughter thought since it was such a beautiful day she would like to canoe with her family.  They came to our house to use our canoe.  Of course, everyone was on a different page.  My husband Mike wanted to work on his project, Melissa our granddaughter didn't want any part of it, Sam, middle grandson wanted to go fishing, and I would just go with the flow.  Finally we got organized and hooked up the trailer with the canoe and headed for the boat landing.  Sarah and family minus Melissa followed.  When we got there, they unloaded the canoe.  Sarah, her husband and youngest son Jack were going to canoe.

After they were on their way down river, we headed to the destination boat landing.  It is easier to paddle with the current, so we drop off in one place and drive to the next for pick up.  Since Sam wanted to fish and I am the only one in the family who can bait a hook, it was my job.  I had to go down to my little worm farm and take a few worms to fish with.  Jack was not going to fish at this point because he was sad that I was going to kill my pet worms.  That is why he decided to canoe with his parents.  When we arrived at the pick up boat landing, we saw many other canoeists, kayakers and this big Voyageur canoe.

This voyageur canoe trip is giving a history lesson to a group of young people.

This canoe trip is run by some local Princeton residents.  The trip explores the Fox River the way Father Marquette and Louis Jolliet did.  It teaches about river travel and exploration. 

To read more about it, here is the website.

This particular blog that I wrote a while ago mentions the same people who run the Voyageur trips.

Ok, back to our day.  We parked the vehicles and Mike set up away from everything.  I think he needed to regroup from the chaos.

Soon he joined us at the river bank.  I baited Sam's hook and set the bobber.  Soon he got a bite and was so excited his sunglasses fell off, and he stepped on them.  He smashed them and didn't even get a fish out of it.  Another time he got such a bad snag that we had to cut the line and start all over.  I was praying for no fish, but he didn't know it.  He mentioned having his catch for dinner.  I am also the only one who knows how to clean a fish, and I wasn't really in the mood.

Before we knew it the rest of the crew arrived safe and sound at the boat landing.  They paddled in, and we loaded up the canoe again.

Now it was time to go home.  Everyone was starving so I had to come up with something to eat.  Thank goodness it wouldn't be fish.  I don't know how much of a work out Sarah got, but I think everyone had fun.  That is the important thing, after all.